Tags: fox | cnbc | business | news

Fox-CNBC War Starts Monday

By Jim Meyers   |   Sunday, 14 Oct 2007 06:39 PM

The war for business viewers between Fox News and CNBC begins with the Monday launch of the Fox Business Network – and Fox enters the fray with plenty of ammunition.

There’s Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto, who has spearheaded development of FBN as Fox News’ senior vice president of business news.

Cavuto was earlier involved in a Fox-CNBC clash of sorts when he was lured away from CNBC by Fox in 1996.

[Editor’s Note: Get NewsMax’s Special Report “On the Money: Fox News Takes on CNBC” – Go Here Now.]

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, the mastermind behind the phenomenal success of the Fox News Channel – who was also lured away from CNBC – is overseeing the new venture.

Then there’s Fox News’ parent News Corp.’s recent $5 billion deal to purchase Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, a marriage that offers limitless possibilities for the new television business channel.

And there’s the power of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. itself, a media behemoth with more than 47,000 employees and revenue of some $28 billion last year.

Rumors about a possible Fox News-developed business channel have floated around for years, but officials at the company didn’t formally announce plans to unveil the channel until this year.

FBN has been extremely tight lipped about their plans. Fox execs have already claimed that when word leaked out they planned a reality show from Wall Street’s nearby bars, CNBC began poaching the idea.

''I have to be careful what I say about our plans, because anything I mention, I'll see on CNBC this afternoon,'' Ailes was quoted in a Miami Herald report. “One time I put it out that we were thinking of doing business news in cartoon form only. I understand they had meetings about that -- 'Jesus, if he goes to cartoons, what will that mean?' ''

But Ailes is promising big editorial differences with CNBC. He says FBN’s focus will be more "Main Street" than "Wall Street."

''They're very market-centric,'' he said. "They spend a lot of time on last quarter's earnings. I watched damn near an hour one afternoon while they beat up on some poor company over its quarterly report.

"Small business creates the most jobs in America. They don't do much with small business. We'll do more than that. There will be differences in the presentation aspects, too. . . . I think most people would agree that Fox News is presented differently than CNN. Fox Business will be presented differently than CNBC.''

FBN is expected to debut in at least 30 million households, about one third of CNBC’s reach and even less than Bloomberg TV's.

But the stakes are high. CNBC reportedly brings in $245 million a year in advertising, and infomercial telecasts and subscriber fees from cable and satellite TV distributors brought its total revenue to $680 million in 2006, according TV Week magazine.

Officials at Fox News have been keeping their battle plans more or less under wraps, but Rupert Murdoch has criticized CNBC for being too "negative toward business" and said FBN would be more "business-friendly."

An early skirmish between FBN and CNBC is brewing following Murdoch’s purchase of Dow Jones. CNBC parent General Electric has an exclusive deal with Dow Jones for business content that runs through 2012.

Insiders say that to the extent FBN seeks to capitalize on Dow Jones stories and reporters, CNBC would likely consider this an intrusion on their contract.

Murdoch has described the deal with GE as an "obstacle," but tells reporters no talks are under way to buy out GE's interest. That makes it likely FBN will see a lot of the Dow Jones brand on CNBC.

On another front, Fox has tried to lure Jim Cramer away from CNBC, according to Business Week, and will probably approach Maria Bartiromo when her CNBC contract expires in two years.

CNBC executives aren’t worried about the looming battle of business networks – at least outwardly.

"We’ve had competition before, we have competition right now, and we’ll have it in the future," CNBC spokesman Kevin Goldman told NewsMax.

"Competition has never been something we take lightly, but it’s also never been our focus."

But CNBC is already making changes to its lineup "in advance of the launch" of FBN, Media Week magazine reported. The network has announced that on Oct. 10 it would pull the plug on the 7 p.m. Dylan Ratigan program "On the Money," move "Fast Money with Dylan Ratigan" from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m., and shift "Kudlow & Company" from 5 p.m. to the 7 p.m. slot.

Cavuto is aware of the tough battle ahead, but he’s definitely psyched up for the fight.

"I’m quite realistic about entrenched players like CNBC and Bloomberg," he told NewsMax.

"I know full well what we’re up against. I’m not arrogant enough to say we’re going to come out of the gate and do this or that. I just know that we’ve got the makings of something very exciting."

[Editor’s Note: Get NewsMax’s Special Report “On the Money: Fox News Takes on CNBC” – Go Here Now.]

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